abstract, animals, art, insect, landscape, world

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #71 ‚Äď Creepy

This week it’s Leya‘s turn to challenge us. She asks for something creepy, and she gets something really creepy ūüôā

The Pterophoridae or plume moths are a family of Lepidoptera with unusually modified wings. Though they belong to the Apoditrysia like the larger moths and the butterflies, unlike these they are tiny and were formerly included among the assemblage called “microlepidoptera”. – Wikipedia

I stumbled upon this creepy insect a few years ago and already wrote about it. Here you can see another image taken from a different point of view.

A plume moth is a kind of moth, a many-plumed moth. I never saw one before, so it was a very scary moment. The moth is about 2-3 cm long and the spread wings approximately 4-5 cm.

It is pale-white and the legs have thorns. Considering that moths are usually not very pretty, this one looks like it has escaped from a nightmare.

Take care!

animals, insect, photography, seasons, wildlife, world

Throwback Thursday: bee fly

bee fly or humblefly (Bombylius major) / Wollschweber

I didn’t see these guys for years. It’s a¬†bee flies or humblefly.¬†They were dancing each spring above the forsythias. But, for years I wasn’t able to see any. The owner of another blog posted about them a few days ago. So, I got reminded to my own experiences with them. It was a really hard job to catch one with my camera.

APS-C, 500mm, f8, ISO 800, 1/1600

Take care!

animals, insect, nature, photography, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: a thirsty wasp

common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) / Gemeine Wespe

At this time (up to mid July)  of the year, wasps are not so disturbing as at the end of the summer. Currently, they are still busy with taking care for the next generation. Some are collecting pollens and some are getting water and the others are building the nest or defending it while the queen produces more and more eggs.

Like hornets or bees, most of the insects in a wasp-state are infertile females. They have a lot of work with collecting pollens for feeding the breed and hunting other insects as food for themselves. They are expanding, repairing and defending the nest. The only purpose of the males is copulating with a female to-become-queen and state-founder at a certain date in the later summer (in my region it’s often at the end of August or early September). After that event the state breaks into pieces: the males leave the nest and die, the fertilized young females also living the nest get inseminated and searching for a safe place to survive winter, even the old queen, the mother of the whole state, usually dies because of exhaustion from laying all the eggs (several thousand up to 50,000 during one summer). And the infertile females? They are now unemployed, because all of their duty was to prepare this one day when all the males and the fertile females are leaving the nest and starting to their wedding flight.

Without their necessities for caring for the state they are bored and have a lot of time to enjoy the rest of their lives. And, … for their entertainment, they are about to annoy the humans by disturbing the barbecues, taste cakes (i.e. plum or apple cake), soft-drinks and many, many more things.

Although, adult wasps eat other insects, they are still interested in everything sweet and in meat.

Take care!

animals, art, flowers, insect, macro, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: A hover-fly and an Ad

APS-C, f16, 1/1000, ISO 2,800, 105mm (~157mm FX)

Today I have not only an image for you, but also a special offer. Skylum is offering their software Luminar 2018 with a special discount. The offer is starting today and valid until Sunday.

The above macro image shows a hover-fly on an Echinacea blossom. It’s taken by using a 105mm macro lens attached to a camera with an APS-C sized sensor in the early evening hours. Afterwards it’s developed from raw by using Luminar 2018.

Insects are very quickly moving animals. Additionally, their movements are nearly unpredictable. Even when sitting on blossoms for having a meal, they are constantly moving around. So, you have to use very short shutter-speeds when taking photographs beside a quick auto-focus. When using a macro lens for taking photos from small or tiny things like insects, you have to use a small aperture (= high number) to get images that are sharp for more than a tiny area. You know, the size of the field of depth depends on the focal length and the f-stop as well as the distance between your lens and the subject: the smaller the aperture, the bigger the field of depth and the longer the focal length the smaller the field of depth.

Both of these have an impact on the resulting image: a short shutter-speed only lets the light reach the sensor for a very short moment, while the small aperture limits the amount of light. So, what can we do to get properly exposed images? Right, we must increase the ISO, the sensitivity of the sensor. But, increasing the sensitivity also has a con: the digital noise in the image also increases and the fine structures might vanish. You might ask, why do I tell you all this technical stuff.

The reason is, nobody wants to look at noisy images with no structures. So, you have to use a software for developing your images, which is capable of eliminating the noise but preserves the structures.

In this image I still have all the structures: the fine hairs, the structures of the facet-eyes and the pollens. I also got rid of the noise from the background. So, Luminar did a great job again.

You can download a free demo (fully functional for 14 days) and test it on your own computer with you own images.

Take care!

(this post contains affiliate links)

animals, culture, flowers, food, insect, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Bees still in danger

Last week I’ve read an article in a German political news magazine with very good reputation for publishing their reports from a very neutral point of view. They wrote about a research report, published recently by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).¬†I already wrote here about the huge decrease in insects around. But, this report is specific to bees.

The EFSA report said, they now have an evidence for the suspicion verbalised in 2013, that pesticides and insecticides based on Neonicotinoides (named  Clothianidin, Imidacloprid and Thiamethoxam which are used to safe seeds: i.e. rapeseeds) are an enormous danger for bees. Wild bees as well as domesticated bees.

According to experts, even tiniest doses of i.e. 4 billionth gram per bee is deadly. Weaker doses already endanger their ability to navigate, to learn, weaken the immune system and reduce the ability to fertilise.

Why do we need bees, one might say, combined with a statement about not eating honey. But, bees are much more important than for producing honey: without bees we won’t get much food. Even in greenhouses bees are working hard to pollinate¬†billions of blossoms each day. Not speaking about the huge industry like orchard growing i.e. apples, pears, plums, cherries and many other fruits. There’s a quote, four years after the bees, people extinct too. Although, this quote often is accredited to Albert Einstein, the real source is unknown. Even channels Darwin published a statement with a similar meaning. Nevertheless, the impact of the vanishing of bees will be huge.

Despite the European Union already restricted the allowed usage for these poisons (allowed only in greenhouses and of certain plants like winter grain), the restrictions are about to get tightened now.

This new report could be the final keystone to get these poisons forbidden. A very good new for the insects.

Our environment is already very seriously harmed. Help, to turn the clock backwards. Buy your food from local farmers, where you can ask them about their usage of poisons.

Take care!

animals, bird, insect, nature

The vanishing of insects and birds

probably a large carder bee or moss carder bee (Bombusmuscorum) / Mooshummel

Last week I noticed a report saying biologists have discovered an enormous decrease in the amount of insects around over the last 25 years. They set up catches and caught insects over a certain time at the same places all over Europe. At the end of the catching period they weight the catch. Over the last 25 years they discovered, the catch shrink every year. Compared to the catch 25 years ago, they caught only 1/4 of the amount they caught 25 year ago. That’s a descent of 75%.

I believe this. When recalling the memories to my childhood, I remember very dirty front-screens of the cars after each longer trip in the countryside. Thousands of insect were smashed and have had to be removed. And nowadays? I’m still living in the same area, but I have to clean my front-screen only 2 or 3 time over the whole summer.

What does this mean? First of all, less food for the birds and other insectivores. But, it also means, there are less insects for pollination our food-plants. Over the next years we have to find a solution to bring back insects. This would also have an effect to the insectivores, especially the birds.

Don’t forget, not only the insects die. The vanishing of the local insects gives room for insects from other areas that don’t have enemies here but could endanger our health (think i.e. of the¬†tiger mosquito bringing¬†different kinds of dangerous illnesses).

So, don’t spray insecticides¬†over your plants. Try to find natural ways to keep the unwanted insects away from your house and your garden. Give insectivores a home in your garden or near your house. Try to buy your food from farmers which avoid the usage of spraying¬†insecticides (this is also a benefit for your own health because there is less poison to remove before you eat the food!)

Btw. there’s also a post from Solveig of “Penty of Amelie” focused on the vanishing of the birds¬†that might get your interest, too.

Take care!